The Mets are ready to spend, 40-man roster crunches and scouting Seiya Suzuki
Steve Cohen and Billy Eppler say the club is ready to open up their checkbooks this offseason. Plus, an in-depth look into an international free agent phenom.
What’s Up with the Mets? 💭
The Mets formally introduced Billy Eppler as the team’s general manager on Friday, where both he and owner Steve Cohen said the team expects to spend in free agency
It is unlikely that the Mets will trade away any of their top prospects this offseason, per Eppler
The Mets are “entertaining” the thought of signing Japanese OF Seiya Suzuki, who will officially be posted today (NY Post)
New York officially added SS Ronny Mauricio, 3B Mark Vientos, RHP Jose Butto and RHP Adam Oller to their 40-man roster on Friday
2B/OF Carlos Cortes (No. 10 prospect) and C Hayden Senger (No. 21 prospect) were not protected by the team, making them eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft
The Mets may be competing with the Tigers in the Javier Báez sweepstakes (Heyman)
Seiya Suzuki, the man to get the Mets back into international free agency’s deep end 📝
It’s been quite some time since the Mets were actively involved in major international free agents and over decade since they last signed a player out of Japan. But with the news that Hiroshima Toyo Carp outfielder Seiya Suzuki will be posted starting today, and the Mets’ seemingly effusive willingness to spend this offseason — which was recently stated by the owner and new GM as recently as last week — it is time for the club to re-establish themselves as players in the international free agency market.
While there are players available for posting most offseasons, Suzuki is the biggest fish (or should I say Carp) from Japan since Shohei Ohtani became a free agent in 2017. At that time, the Mets were still owned by the Wilpons and weren’t remotely involved or even rumored to be interested in Ohtani’s services, due to their own self-imposed tight budget. The last time the Mets have signed an international free agent from Japan was Hisanori Takahashi — on a minor league contract — in 2010. Some other big names coming from Japan that the Mets have passed on over the years include Masahiro Tanaka, Yu Darvish and Kenta Maeda.
But the time has come for that to no longer be a regular occurrence. With the arrival of Steve Cohen, money is no longer a hindrance for the Mets but instead a weapon. And who better than Billy Eppler, the man that signed Ohtani when he was GM of the Angels, to land the biggest Japanese hitter available since 2017?
Suzuki is still just 28 — regularly younger than the average player in every league he’s played in — is a four-time NPB All-Star, five-time NPB Best Nine Award winner, three-time Gold Glove winner and is coming off of a season where he hit .319/.436/.640 with 38 home runs, 88 RBI, nine stolen bases, a 1.075 OPS and a league-leading 8.4 WAR in 133 games. For a point of reference, the highest fWAR for any MLB position player in 2021 was 6.9 by Trea Turner.
Since 2016, Suzuki has been one of the most feared hitters in the NPB, finishing top-5 in wRC+ for six consecutive seasons. Not only has Suzuki featured a prolific power bat since his breakout as a 21-year-old, but he is also a guy who puts the ball in play, striking out in just 16 percent of his plate appearances this past season. Suzuki brings a short, quick swing with him, works long counts at the plate and sprays the ball to all fields, according to a Prospects Live scouting report.
With the likely departure of Michael Conforto in free agency, the Mets have openings in their outfield and Suzuki could very well be the best free agent outfielder available to fill that void. Outside of center fielder Starling Marte, the free agent options in the outfield are somewhat lacking this offseason and Suzuki, while he is no sure-thing transferring from one league to another, likely has a higher ceiling and greater potential impact than anyone else available right now.
Suzuki could be looking at a contract anywhere between three- to five-years between $7-10 million per season, according to the NY Post, and with the Mets’ need at the position, re-established deep pockets and an aggressive general manager who has won a posting bidding war in recent memory, there is no reason that the club shouldn’t heavily be in the mix here to land Suzuki.
This is the type of move that could prove to be one of great impact for a Mets franchise that hasn’t been involved in this area of the market for far too long now.
Hot Stove 🔥
Japanese phenom OF Seiya Suzuki will officially be posted on Monday, making him available as a free agent (Heyman)
The Yankees offered RHP Justin Verlander a one-year, $25 million contract prior to him re-signing with the Astros (Heyman)
LHPs Robbie Ray and Steven Matz are “priorities” for the Blue Jays in free agency (Fansided)
The Rangers are pursuing free agent shortstops Corey Seager, Trevor Story and Marcus Semien (Morosi)
The Yankees designated OF Clint Frazier for assignment, making him available on waivers
The Tigers are showing interest in free agent shortstops Javier Báez and Marcus Semien (Heyman)
The A’s acquired RHP Brent Honeywell from the Rays in exchange for cash considerations
The Pirates signed LHP Jose Quintana to a one-year, $2 million contract (Fansided)
The Rockies signed C Pedro Severino to a one-year, $1.99 million contract (ESPN)
The Phillies acquired RHP Nick Nelson and C Donny Sands from the Yankees in exchange for 1B T.J. Rumfield and LHP Joel Valdez
Prospect Watch ⚾
This weekends’s stats in the Arizona Fall & Dominican Winter Leagues
Brett Baty (3B, No. 2 prospect): 0-for-3
Brian Metoyer (RHP, unranked): 0.1 IP, 3 H, 6 ER, BB, K